I’ve been wanting to review this trilogy for a very long time, and I finally have a break in ARC reviews (read: I’m reading too slowly) to fit it into. I listened to the entire Delirium trilogy on audiobook, and I loved almost every minute of it. I say almost because there were times when I was so anxious that I didn’t love what was happening, but I digress. I don’t know why* I waited so long to read these books, but I’m glad I finally did.
*I do know why. I was completely overloaded by dystopian trilogies for a while there, as was most of the world, I think.
The Delirium trilogy is about Lena Haloway, mostly. Lena is just a summer away from her procedure, which will protect her from the dangerous disease known as the Deliria. What is the Deliria, you ask? It’s love. In this alternate version of the United States, love is outlawed, and as soon as kids turn 18, they’re signed up for the Procedure to prevent them from getting infected. Lena lives with her aunt and uncle and two cousins, because her dad died years ago and her mother committed suicide after being subjected to the Procedure multiple times. For some reason, Lena’s mother couldn’t be cured, and she decided she’d rather die than go through the Procedure again. So, needless to say, Lena’s been exposed to some shit.
Delirium, the first book in the trilogy, starts with Lena’s evaluation, along with her best friend Hana’s evaluation – the evaluation is something that happens in preparation for the Procedure. Lena’s evaluation is going terribly wrong, and then… a bunch of cows break into the building where the evaluation is taking place. That’s bizarre enough, but then Lena looks up into the observation deck and sees a boy around her age… laughing. People don’t really laugh after they have the Procedure. They don’t show or feel much emotion at all, in fact.
While running a couple days later, Hana and Lena actually run into that boy – it turns out his name is Alex, he’s going to the local college, and he’s been cured for a year or so. Lena starts hanging out with him before curfew, and… she starts having feelings. The Deliria. And Alex… let’s just say that he has some secrets of his own.
I know that the first book in this trilogy came out a while ago (2010? 2011?), so the spoilers are probably already out there. If I’m going to keep things relatively spoiler-free, I can’t really go into the second and third books of the trilogy at all. I can say this – Pandemonium, the second book, takes place about nine months after Delirium ends, but it jumps back and forth in time to cover that time jump. And then Requiem takes place immediately after Pandemonium ends, but this time we’re jumping back and forth between Lena and Hana’s points of view. It’s a fascinating story told in a unique, fascinating way, and I’m so glad I consumed it on audio. Sarah Drew narrates, and she’s fantastic.
I think that’s all I’m going to say about the plot. Yes, I have decided.
3 Things I Loved
- Alex. I fell in love with Alex in Delirium. Completely, totally, I was 100% invested in the relationship between Lena and Alex. Of love interests in the surge of dystopian YA literature that came out of the early 2010’s, he was my favorite (that I’ve read). *SPOILER ALERT* I grieved when Lena went over the fence without him, when he was left to die. I grieved with her throughout the whole beginning of Pandemonium. And I didn’t like the Julian plotline, because I just had this feeling. Alex was so essential to the plot. Is he really gone? OF COURSE HE’S NOT. I was so happy to see my sweet baby angel again that I forgave his broody-YA-hero mentality for a while. But anyway, spoilery spoilers, sorry about that. Yeah, Alex is my fave, and I’ll go to my grave with Lena and Alex as my OTP for this era of stories.
- Raven and Tack. Okay, Raven and Tack aren’t part of the story until Pandemonium, but they’re one of my favorite side couples and I love them. They didn’t deserve the ending they got. Tack’s surliness and Raven’s mother hen mentality and I JUST CAN’T I love them so much. I’m still not okay.
- The Wilds. My favorite part about the framing of this world was the Wilds. Cities aren’t connected like they used to be – each city is sort of like a city-state, separated from the rest of the country with the Wilds in between. I was here for it. I would want to live in the Wilds too, hands down. I would have hopped the fence with you in a heartbeat, Lena.
Since I listened to these on audio, I was consuming the story in small chunks that spanned over a couple of months. Aside from the fact that the story was mostly about straight, white people, and ace or enby/genderqueer people would have had no place in this world at all (based on the general premise and structure), nothing overtly problematic comes to mind. I mean, the whole premise is that love is against the law, that it’s a disease, so the world itself is pretty effed up, you know? There were some cringey moments when they’d talk about matching partners based on intelligence, and how mental illness was a crime (basically), and things like that, but like I said. The world itself is effed up. That doesn’t give it a pass, but it gives me some pause.
A reminder of the rating scale:
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good, but not something I’d reread
- Blue = Oh my gosh, everyone should be reading this book
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart
I’m going to give ratings for each individual book here, because I don’t think they’re all equally good. I gave Delirium four stars on Goodreads, and I’ve already read it twice, so I feel like that puts it in GREENISH-BLUE territory. I don’t necessarily think everyone needs to read Delirium, but I like it a lot and may relisten to the series again in the future. Pandemonium was even better, but I’m sticking with GREENISH-BLUE for the same reasons. And then there’s Requiem. Requiem wrecked me. I gave it five stars on Goodreads, and I’m sticking with solid BLUE on this one. If you like this genre, if you like Lauren Oliver, if you like stories about revolution led by ordinary people against extraordinary odds – this is your jam. Read them. Enjoy them. Listen to them on audio, because Sarah Drew is fantastic! And then talk to me about them, because I loved them a lot.
Have you read these? They’re sort of a blast from the past now, but I liked them a lot in the current climate – dystopian is more relevant again, and that makes it extra freaky. Anyway, if you want to chat about these books, come find me! ❤